Saturday, May 31, 2008

Immigrants ( I Love the Swedes)

Detroit Red Wings rely on heavy Swedish contingent to reach Stanley Cup final

DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings would be in rough shape without Sweden. In fact, their general manager insisted the Western Conference champions would've been knocked out of the post-season long ago - if they even made it - without their seven Swedes. Thanks to Nicklas Lidstrom and several countrymen, Detroit is set to meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup final at home in Game 1 on Saturday night. "It's a big deal back home," Lidstrom said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press. "They call us the Swedish NHL team because there's so many of us. "As we get deeper in the playoffs, more people are staying up late and going to work after watching us play." Sweden is six hours ahead of Michigan's Eastern Daylight Time.

(You can read the article in it's entirety by clicking on the title link. It's interesting, but I do appreciate that not everyone is all that interested.)

While driving home late (again) from work tonight, it struck me how unfair it is to only play the U.S. National Anthem at the beginning of the game. I was listening to the start of the game on the radio and sure enough, only the Star Spangled Banner was sung. I realize these days that it would be hard to play the anthems from all the countries that NHL players come from; there wouldn't be time for the game.

Instead (and in honor of the Swedish contingent), I propose the NHL institute the playing of this song at the beginning of all hockey games. Immediately. I'll go first.

Friday, May 30, 2008

"Shoot Straight You B*st*rds! Don't Make a Mess of It!

And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

Rudee the Warrior aka Madame Defarge was assocksecuted today by a sister in arms: a fellow knitter. Death came swiftly by parcel post. Her family, ashamed by recent war crimes that have come to light had no comments other than to say, "Thank God! Perhaps now, there will be a hot meal on the table once in a while."

Temptation and War Crimes

I wish I were saying I was kicking the bucket, but I'm not. I cast on sock # 4 for sock wars late last night. I can't really say why this pair isn't done yet. I'm not really ignoring them-they just seem to go on forever for such a short little pair of socks. One would think I was knitting intricate kilt hose for a man with a size 15 shoe. They're just short little socks for a target who wears a size 7 shoe.

Part of the problem is a deficit in the attention department. I seem to find one thing and then another that drags me away from what I need to be doing. These things aren't necessarily important to me. They're just little temptations that lead me astray or off task. Last night, I played with a feature on my Macbook that I had no idea was even residing in my applications. I'd gone looking for my Flickr Uploadr so I could add images to use as my Ravatar and found photo booth too. It takes a picture with my built in camera and can change the effects of the photo as it snaps it. I thought thermal was a great choice given the recent reappearance of my hot flashes. But it does xray too. And sepia, comic book, pencil sketch, pop art and of course, normal. It was way cooler than knitting Ruth's sock (sorry Ruth, but it was.)

The other thing that led me astray was watching Ghost for the millionth time. I can do without the gooey parts of that movie. Truth be told, I watch it for the scenes with Whoopi. By this time, it was 11:30 PM when the movie started and I was whipping through that sock. I was on the cuff that was K1P1 for 12 rows and just going around and around my needles in a mindless way. Thinking I was at the part where I'd start the pattern, I looked down and saw that I had left out those pesky purl stitches for the past three rows and I had only 9 rows of ribbing with 3 rows of stockinette stitch. Dammit. So I frogged ever so delicately back to row 8 and tried to finish the rib. It's Whoopi's fault.

Lastly, I am knitting these for a woman who has petite feet. I was thrown by how small the first completed sock appears. I've never knit for someone with such a dainty foot. I'm used to knitting for people including myself, who have pretty large feet for girls. There I am, looking at sock one and wondering if my trusty little sheep tape measure is lying. It isn't but I'm worried. Therefore Ruth, if you are reading this, I've made the toe easy to unravel in case you need to make an adjustment. I also made an executive decision to give you a more feminine toe on this sock. I hope you know a good lawyer I could use in case I get arrested for making a change to the pattern. I took the toe down to 14 stitches on each needle and then did a stunningly executed Kitchener stitch.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Let's Look at This Closely

If I could perform a magic trick and have the ability to do something over, here is how I would and would not spend that gift:

I don't really care that the Wings have no chance of a sweep. I wouldn't want them to win the cup on the Penguin's ice. Suffice it to say, I was thrilled to see Johan Franzen (who gets his meatballs at Ikea too) get one in the net. It was a beautiful goal.


The Penguin's wanted this win more and it showed. It was a great game but the Wings didn't come to life until the third period and by that time, it was too little, too late. I wouldn't spend my redo gift here.

Looking back on my life, I'd want a major redo in my career. When I went to nursing school, it was microbiology that captured my heart. I have a love of things minuscule and tedious. This is a branch of science complete with formalities like the nomenclature or naming of organisms. It's quite formal. I love the study of microscopic critters and find their images beneath a lens that magnifies their sizes thousands of times, quite stunning. Had it been financially feasible back then, I'd have changed direction and become a bug hunter of some sort: bacteriologist, virologist, epidemiologist or immunologist. I'd probably like viruses. I've always been enamored of the study of viruses. All organisms look so amazing when under the microscope:

Here is the star of the movie (and book) And the Band Played On.
HIV on a macrophage-it looks like a photo of the universe.

This spirochete is Treponema pallidum or more commonly, syphilis. One nursing school instructor I had always gave good advice: before you say yes, turn on the lights. I can't believe that stuck in my head lo these many years later. I know I've never had it but working in this business, I've seen it. Baltimore is the #1 city for occurrence of syphilis. Detroit is 6th.

This is an absolutely stunning photo of gram positive cocci arranged in clusters. Yes, it's Staphyloccus (genus) epidermidis (species). It resides on our skin and can be a normal finding. Ordinarily this organism is not pathogenic (disease causing) but don't be mislead; this beautiful bug can infect a person and is usually resistant to penicillin and methacillin. That's not a good thing. This bug can enter the body through a catheter and produces a biofilm (slime) that adheres to the catheters and thus causes infection in the immune compromised "host".

I love the red stain used on this virus. I am captivated by the story of this bug. It's the spanish flu which was a particularly deadly Influenza A Virus strain of subtype H1N1. The irony of the Spanish flu is that it was first discovered here in the U.S and then spread to Europe. It's thought that maybe up to as many as 100,000,000 people world wide were killed by this virus. Thats a lot of zeros. It was fascinating to read The Great Influenza by John M. Barry. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is even remotely concerned about the emerging strains of influenza (H5N1-avian flu) that the scientific community is concerned about. I'd recommend it as well to people who love bugs as much as me.

This bug is the reason you really shouldn't abuse or use antibiotics you don't need (antibiotics don't kill viruses or fungi.) This is Clostridium difficile. It causes horrific colitis and even death and once again, it's in the news. I dread taking care of patients with this bug. I have to gown, glove and wash everything all day long. It takes a toll on patients and can lead to severe skin issues as well. This is one I worry I'll catch too and thats why I'm so careful. The new data coming out indicates that newer strains of this bacteria are more deadly than in the past.

So this is how I'd spend my redo. If only.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our House

I'm taking this time out to stop and smell the flowers. Literally. I had a bit of an unpleasant morning with some issues that popped up at work that legally, I can't speak about except to say, I don't recall. To make myself feel better, I went to Trader Joe's and bought Oatmeal Raisin Druid Circles, Sharfenberger chocolate, a Viennese Lemon Torte, fat laden salami and real gouda cheese. On the way home and just around the corner from TJ's, I stopped at Ewenique Knits.

Still feeling bad about above said issue which we still can't speak about in this paragraph, I bought 2 skeins of Jitterbug (I love that stuff), 2 darning needles, a pattern, a sheep shaped gauge measure and some stitch markers. Miraculously, only 6 druid circles later, I feel much better now. A bit bloated, but better.

This just in: beautiful lilacs bursting forth (the cold snap didn't harm them last night.)

My yard in spring is just so pretty. I love the color purple and this year, my irises haven't disappointed me.

This is the year I'm going to split these irises and plant them along the side of my house. There will be irises everywhere. They are the most stunning color of purple.

I can't begin to tell you what kind of tree this is. In spring it's loaded with white flowers. In the winter, red berries. This winter, I went outside to get the mail and there were dozens of birds (ala Alfred Hitchcock staging) feasting on the berries. The birds were fat and happy-obviously, there are Druid Circles for birds too.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

War Tactics

Winter. I was sick to death of winter and all of the snow we had this year. It was beyond disgusting to deal with for so long. On the other hand, I don't recall a single hot flash. The weight of blankets while I sleep is so comforting to me and something I have to wait until winter to enjoy. It's like being in a cocoon or nest. Winter was fabulous for my menopausal body.

Spring has bloomed however, along with my lilacs (very late) and irises (loaded with buds). The temperature is up and so are the hot flashes. I've also started taking a vitamin supplement that's supposed to stop the ringing in my ears. It's loaded with B vitamins and those also cause hot flashes. I no sooner get out of the shower, dried off, dressed and I begin to feel wilted and miserable. I walk around with a perpetual bead of sweat on my brow.

Until now, it's been sort of cool though and no need to turn on the A/C-until yesterday. It was hot. It was humid. I walked in from work to a sweltering home yesterday and turned on the air. First time this year. My husband got home from work two hours later and said, "it's beautiful out." He shut off the air and opened the windows. This to me is an act of war and frankly, I'm a little thin on the manpower to wage war on more than one front.

I got up, shut the windows and turned the air back on. After a satisfying hockey game, I went to bed and saw he had turned the thermostat up to 75. OK. I knew I'd felt hot but kept my mouth shut thinking it was just my blood boiling. I turned it down to 72 and went to bed. At precisely 1:40 this morning, I woke up ROASTING. And it wasn't from a clandestine meeting with Leonardo DiCaprio. It was the temperature in the room. I got up drenched and headed out to check the thermostat. Shit. It was 77 degrees in this house.

Awake, I began to plot all the nasty things I could do and say to my husband when next I talked to him. Feeling miserable at 2 in the morning is about all I can take. Waiting for the air to cool off (it's more the humidity than the temp that gets to me), I plotted my revenge in this round of the summer thermostat wars. I could only come up with breaking his fingers.

Monday, May 26, 2008

On My Mind

I've a few things on my mind today but work is interfering.  I will leave you with a couple of things to ponder.

How does one suffer death by corn?  I actually know the answer to this as do my siblings.  I'm working the post out in my head and when it's ready, I'll share the answer.

Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is tonight.  I'm ready.  I hope for a swift victory tonight although even if we do win, the game is still 3 periods long.  No OT boys, I've got to work tomorrow which means I get up at 5 AM.

At one time, what did I have in common with Sharon Stone?  Besides bleach?  If you guessed butchy short blond hair, you'd be right.  I am beyond over this neck length mess of curly hair that without a ton of attention and product looks like I stuck my finger in a light socket.  The trouble is, my stylist who made me look so fabulous moved to Chicago.  Can you see a road trip in my future?  I can.  The upkeep may be pricey.  It definitely needs new paint too.  Bleach.

I would be a bowling fanatic if this was what it was like:

Now, aren't you glad you don't think like me?

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I like words. In the manner I was taught, if I don't know a word, I stop what I'm doing and look it up. Back in the day of petticoats and parasols, this meant keeping a very heavy dictionary and possibly a thesaurus next to wherever I happened to be perched. Now, it's easier. The dashboard on my Macbook (which is pretty spiffy looking minus the cracks) has a dictionary right there. It helps with all sorts of things including spelling. Online dictionaries are a click away. And, they are bookmarked.

The first time I encountered the word paradigm (a couple of decades ago) was in relation to a hospital management change in philosophy, or model of care and management. It would seem that we would be using ancillary staff to manage patient care under the supervision of the licensed nurse (read me) in order to free up said nurse for MORE responsibilities. They said we (nurses) had to change our paradigms and learn to think differently about patient care. I went home and looked this word up and immediately filed it in a special spot in my brain. I would later pull this word out of thin air and use it to describe any bullshit scenario in which I thought someone had to change their way of thinking. More likely, I used it whenever management was deemed to be up to it's old tricks. It's a great word for just such occasions.

This is what my trusty Merriam-Webster online dictionary says about the word paradigm:

\ˈper-ə-ˌdīm, ˈpa-rə- also -ˌdim\
Late Latin paradigma, from Greek paradeigma, from paradeiknynai to show side by side, from para- + deiknynai to show — more at diction
15th century
1: example, pattern; especially : an outstandingly clear or typical example or archetype
2: an example of a conjugation or declension showing a word in all its inflectional forms
3: a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated; broadly : a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind

I think, example 3 is what our management wanted-for us to change the way we were used to doing things and do it their way. This meant having unlicensed personnel perform the tasks that prior to this, were done solely by nurses. Ah. Don't get me going here (I know you didn't, I did it to myself.) And, this didn't start out as a post about nursing-it's one about knitting.

I'm changing my knitting paradigm. I'm re-learning to knit socks on 2 circular needles and I like it. In some ways, it's so much easier to manage and delivers a slightly better product. No more ladders (loose stitches where one moves from needle to needle that form ladders where the joins are.) The other benefit is that I don't worry about stitches falling off the end of my needles when I set the socks aside.

au revoir to my collection of not so inexpensive double pointed needles
this is only a bit of what I own

It isn't easy to learn new tricks but it's what keeps my knitting fresh. I like challenges. Last year, I signed up for the yahoo group Mystery Stoles 3. It was my first foray into knitting lace, using knitting charts and playing with yarn not much thicker than thread. In Mystery Stoles, a weekly clue in the form of a chart was released. You had a week to knit it up and then the next was released. I made it half way and abandoned it. I didn't like the opposite end of the shawl at all. It was a wing and made the shawl asymmetrical-this didn't appeal to me. I like it all orderly. It was a stunning piece, don't get me wrong. It just wasn't me and I fell out of like with the whole thing. I haven't tossed it. It's just in time out until I decide that I'll either finish it, frog it or I need those size 4 Addi Turbo Lace needles. I'm betting on needing the Addis. In the event you think I'm alone with this knitting fanaticism, when Mystery Stole 3 started, we knitters temporarily overwhelmed Yahoo's server.

Here is my next SW victim's sock in profile. Have I told you lately that I LOVE this yarn?

Knitting the socks in profile is the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around. I'm used to having all the instep stitches on 1 or more usually, 2 needles and the soles on 1 and again more likely, 2 needles. Prior to this, I used 5 needles to knit socks and mittens. It's foreign to me to have half the instep and soles stitches on one needle and the remainder on the other-knitting in profile. I've found myself using multiple markers to keep myself oriented to the important parts of the sock. I like it a lot for trying it on for size. I've snapped many bamboo or clover needles trying them on for size like in the picture below.

It hasn't been hard to change my paradigm in respect to knitting in the round. Bolstered by this, I next plan to learn to knit magic loop socks. I'm excited about that. I'm embracing change these days and it's ok.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Oh Give Me a Home, Where The Swedish Men Roam

The Swedes were hot tonight, bringing home a 4-0 win. Ja! Notice the ad in lower right hand corner of this poster. This is where Johan Franzen buys his Swedish Meatballs. Me too!

If you've been paying any attention here, you know that I am besotted with Don Cherry. I can't explain it, but I adore his flamboyant ways. The things that fly out of his mouth make me laugh my arse off as do his selection of suits. And as wished for by me, he did wear red tonight. Sort of. He wore a white suit with giant flowers placed sporadically all over like the fabric on your grandmother's patio furniture. But the tie? His tie was scarlet red. Thanks Don.

How Don dresses when compliant with mood stabilizer prescriptions.

Between the first and second periods and after the game, I watched Coach's Corner and got my Don fix. Oh, I'm sorry. You didn't see Don tonight? You weren't blessed with growing up in Canada or the next best thing, a Canadian border town? You don't get Hockey Night in Canada on your set? Poor you. You were stuck watching the more staid commentary on Versus, minus the color. Weren't you? I bet, if you watched the game (I just presume that if you're reading this that you love the game as much as me) and were stuck with the mundane follow up, you were asleep before the Joe Louis Arena emptied.

Swedes off duty

Maybe you're Canadian and you didn't watch because there aren't any Canadian teams in the finals. I don't understand that though because there are Canadian men playing for these teams (and a plethora of Swedes too.) Surely, a Canadian has some vested interest in seeing the outcome. I would hope that with the Wings as one of the Original 6, you'd be rooting for them. Ahem, you don't see Penguins as one of the six. Do you?

Do you see Pittsburgh's logo here? Me neither.

On Coach's Corner, Don was trying to explain the song being played after Dan Cleary's goal and was waiting for the replay. Frustrated with the slowness of the crew, he said, "I'm doing my best here folks. My suits can't carry this thing." Au contraire mon ami. They can too.

We Don't Need Your Lousy Octopi

Pittsburgh market refuses to sell Wings fans octopi


There’s a Pittsburgh fish market with octopi for sale, just not for Detroiters.

Dan Wholey, owner of Wholey’s Fish Market in Pittsburgh’s warehouse section known as the Strip District, said he’ll decline the sale of octopus to anyone in Red Wings gear next week. He’ll also listen for Midwestern accents and maybe check identification

"I have the utmost respect for all the people of Detroit,” Wholey said today. “They are great citizens and great hockey fans, just like I am. But I’m a Penguins fan first and foremost and I want to see the Penguins win, period.”

The Red Wings/octopus tradition began in 1952 when a local fish merchant threw an octopus on the ice to symbolize the eight victories needed back then to win the Stanley Cup. The tradition has lived on and the octopus has even become a team mascot.

In a 1995 home playoff game, Red Wings faithful threw 36 octopi on the ice.

Wholey said he can’t bear the thought of an octopus thrown onto the ice of Mellon Arena.

“Anyone who comes in here with a Red Wings jersey, they’re allowed to buy anything in the store, just not the octopus,” he said.

(Rudee's Note: Superior Fish in Royal Oak will package your octopi for leak free transport to the Mellon Arena. Who needs Pittsburgh's nasty octopi when you can buy yours here?)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sock Wars Apathy

Here are your socks Ruth (no, not moi.) Is this yarn not fabulous? I want some.

I am still alive and I can't believe this unfortunate turn of events. I'd fully expected to be having a couple of cold ones agonizing over my eulogy by now! Instead, I'm faced with another complete pair of socks to make while at the same time, I've been struck with a vicious case of sock knitting apathy (at least for this pattern.) I am almost to the heel of the first sock and plan to get through that tonight. Then I'll try to work on the foot. Perhaps it's because I had to start over once I received them as the gauge was completely off. I'd been hoping for a bit of a head start at the very least. I'd think by this point in my life, I'd get used to disappointment.

Which sock got gauge? No fair guessing the one on the needles.

Holy Moley. That's a huge difference. I think the one on the left is a smidge gimongous!

So, I cast on the day I got them on US size stinkin' one needles. The yarn is a bit dark. My eyes have passed the half century mark. You get the picture. It's HARD TO SEE THE FREAKING STITCHES. This is OK until I get to the increase 1 in the pattern which occurs rather frequently. The stitches seem small but I have gauge. I'll plod along and see where I get but if I'm not dead tomorrow, I completely expect I'll get my second kill. I hope so. Monday is a holiday here and there won't be any mail delivery. Boo-hoo Woo-hoo. I live to kill yet again.

In case you wanted to know what I'm doing instead of knitting:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

You're Good Enough, You're Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like You

Al Franken (whom I adore and would vote into the White House) had a character I didn't really care for too much on Saturday Night Live. It was the Stuart Smalley fella who always made me cringe. Sure, it was funny enough, but I believe deep down, Stuart's insecurities struck a chord in my soul.

I don't know why I've always had these feelings that I'm not good enough deep within. But there they are, ready at inopportune moments and waiting to strike me right in the gut. And always, always when I least expect it. It's because of these feelings that I overachieve. I have to be the brightest or the best at what I try. If not, I will give you a good bullshit job that makes you think I am. Or, at least that's what I tell myself.

The thing is, there are times when I don't feel genuine at all. Like I'm not a genuine knitter. Then I pull out something I've made and show it to someone I know belongs to the Knitters Guild of America, and they tell me I'm good, or that what I've made is beautiful. I have to pinch myself. It's impossible to accept a complement at face value. I don't know why. Criticism of my knitting doesn't make me feel bad about it, it just pisses me off. And I'm not mad at the person giving the critique, I'm mad at myself for not being better-that evil voice always agrees with the criticism. We had a European housekeeper at work who told me my stitches were too tight and that I knit the wrong way. I obsessed on that for months (I still do.) I try so hard to channel other knitters who say there IS no wrong way to knit. We are all individuals doing the best we can but all I hear is the woman in my head with the big mouth and that housekeeper who brought it up in the first place.

I feel sometimes like I'm really not a very good friend to my friends. I feel as though in some way, I let them down. I feel this way about my mothering skills too. I don't know how or why, but it's there. My friends (and kids) don't really say these things to me and everyone still calls, emails or hangs out so I'm perplexed at where this stuff comes from.

I'm still waiting to wake up and be told I'm the poorest excuse for a nurse that ever walked the earth. I live in fear the Nurse Police are going to show up at my door and tell me my career has all been a mistake and who the hell gave me a license to practice my art in the first place? They are going to accuse me of 25 years of faking it. Two years ago, I was nominated for and won the Spirit of Nursing Award. I was humbled to think my peers thought this of me-humbled is the wrong word, I was shocked. This beautiful award with all it's meaning was for me. Someone then made a joke that it must have been a mistake and was meant for her and that wench in my brain agreed. Now, I'm sure the person who said that to me didn't mean that, but what if she did? The award was a Lladro porcelain nurse that sits on my mantle to remind me I'm not good enough or at least some people and that voice in my head don't think so. The rest? I guess they do.

The inability to accept a complement, or believe the giver of such things means them, was the source of many an argument in the early years of my second marriage. My first husband was on a first name basis with the bitch in my brain and the two conspired to find ways to make me feel inadequate. My second (and truly only) husband had a lot of grief and damage control to do. It's a testimony to him that he has helped me through much of these feelings and taught me to accept a complement. Sometimes, he'll just say "shut up, say thank you." Although I don't talk about him much here, he's my best friend and I adore him. He is by far, the better half of me. The best thing of all is he makes me laugh. Deeply. Daily. He's wonderful and I'm blessed.

Knowing this about me now, imagine how I must have felt when I read the letter of recommendation my friend wrote for the hospice position I applied for. It was glowing and full of adjectives and descriptions of my nursing practice that made me feel wonderful to read. When that ugly big mouth deep in my soul popped up and started saying bad things to me in respect to this letter, I gave it to my friend Judi to read. I asked her if it sounded like too much bullshit to her. She (she is wonderful) hugged me and said, "oh honey, it's all true." Judi made me cry and so did my friend Sister Jeanne who wrote the letter. If these two pillars of my life say it's so, it must be. I just wish that voice would pipe down in there.

So, I've told you about my insecurities as a prelude to this: as of June 16th, I will be a hospice nurse. Be careful what you ask, wish and pray for. Sometimes, you get it in spades.


I wish it was as easy to do this to my house.  Obviously, I've too much time on my hands.  Hey, shouldn't I be knitting or something?  Well, I was and now I'm not.  I did receive the socks in progress from Pixiedust.  I know, I'm shocked too.   I was amazed that I got them since she has been so silent and that sort of worried me.

I was having a cup of coffee with my daughter when she heard a knock on the door.  Duke and I heard nothing (you'll notice Jezebel isn't mentioned much and we'll talk about that another day; suffice it to say that we drew the line at the destroyed living room furniture.)  Damn, Duke and I are both getting old.  We went to the door together with Miss S. preceding me saying "oh, oh, this can't be good."  I'm sure the postal carrier thought we were nuts (OK, just me) because I said, "I know I'm dead.  She finally killed me."  For someone who's been begging to die, I was starting to feel regret.  I think my daughter was laughing at me.  I told him I was expecting a pair of socks that would kill me and then I asked where the package was from.  Whew.  Not the Pacific Northwest; Wisconsin.  He looked at me like I was nuts.  Isn't he the one wearing the postal uniform? He couldn't get off my porch quick enough.  I think he was worried the package would explode or something. 

Pixie sent the most beautiful yarn with an explanation that her father was quite ill and she had health issues too.  I'll admit, I feel a tad guilty for riding her so hard.  I don't feel horrific about it since she got a complete and lovely pair of socks out of the deal.   Almost nothing was done which is what I had feared the most-just a cuff and maybe 4 pattern repeats (her increases were the correct ones.)  I was taken aback by the beauty of this yarn; so much so that when I started taking it off the stitch holders and putting it on my needles, I didn't notice that the stitch count didn't match the pattern instructions.  It was a 9 stitch repeat but was a whole repeat short. There were only 63 of the required 72 stitches and I had to start the whole shebang from scratch or face automatic disqualification if I finished them like that. S#!t.  So that's where I am, a meager 16 rows in and miles to go, or so it seems.  As a defense mechanism, I redecorated my blog and spent a bit of time writing.

In other news, my assassin is pushing up daisies in her lovely new socks.  She told me she was a sock and about a half in when she snail-mailed my socks to Florida and my new assassin.  Now if Patty truly liked me, she'd have sent the package by pack mule (never trust an assassin.)  No stinkin' way I'll finish these now.  Florida's assassin lives in Toronto and was killed last week by my friend Rositta.  Rositta died today although I think her ghost survives because she's been going at it with one of the more mouthy vocal people on the Sock Wars forum.  Get her good my friend.  Rositta never got the socks that her victim Rowan was knitting to kill Patty's assassin and now Rositta's assassin is barking for the socks Rowan hasn't sent.

Do you see why I've started drinking?  You need to be in an altered state to follow it all and since it seems I am, I'll explain why I'm dying soon.  Rowan never really started the socks.  Rositta is not in possession of the socks Rowan never knit and obviously never sent.  Rositta, had she been sent those socks, would be fast enough to have killed Florida but died waiting instead.  It's up to my friend's assassin to kill Florida with Rowan's yarn/socks.  Now nobody knows (except Rowan) where that yarn is.  Florida will most certainly kill me while Rositta's assassin stews. 

 I need a score card.  And a padded cell.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Look Out Baby 'Cause Here They Come

Sometimes Nothing Else Will Do The Job

Yesterday was not a total loss in the satisfaction department. Detroit finally stopped toying around with Dallas and brought this home:Lots of voodoo beliefs accompany the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl

Don't be deceived. It's pretty enough for a trophy but the team that hoists this trophy is cursed and will not win the Holy Grail of Hockey, Lord Stanley's Cup.

This is Lord Stanley. He appears to have taken himself quite seriously.

Here is Lord Stanley's Cup. After 4 more wins, perhaps the Boys in Red will once again hoist this cup in glory and sip champagne from the bowl.

It's said that this poor and unfortunate goalie has whiplash from watching 4 pucks nail the goal he was supposed to be tending. It's OK though, he'll have plenty of time for physical therapy. I hope he's in shape soon for the golf course. It would be a shame to miss such an early start to what the other Red Wing victims are finding themselves doing.

Bring on Don Cherry. I'm ready for some really good color commentary!

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Got You My Pretty....

It seems I'm waiting now in a sort of limbo on more fronts than one.  There is no news in respect to last night's post but I'll know soon enough.  I'm rather philosophical about the whole thing.  If it's meant to be, it'll happen.  I worry too about that old adage about being careful what you wish for, it tends to bite one in the ass more often than not.  Still, I'm ready and I think my interview went incredibly well.  We'll see.  

On another front, I've cast on a new pair of socks.  For me.  I'm waiting for Pixiedust to send me the socks she is making for her own target who is now my new target while I wait for my assassin to put me out of this battle.  Damn.  Hurry up Patty.  I can't start from scratch on my new target and must use the ones Pixie has made or I hope she's at least started.  A new Pixie was posted on the dead warrior site and I think it's her.  I can't tell though since she didn't make any other items public like her town, or surname.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  I am so not feeling satisfied here. Even a message like damn, these socks suck would have been better than nothing.  OK, I take that back.  No it wouldn't-but a little something would put my mind at ease.  I keep forgetting myself though.  She's dead. 

To alleviate my boredom and further my skill at procrastination (I still have to finish my sister's gift and that pink sweater), I went fishing in the yarn hoard supply and caught an already wound up ball of Dream in Color's Smooshy in Chinatown Apple.  I've cast on and knit the cuff and part of the first sequence in the gorgeous Terra Incognito pattern by Pink Lemon Twist.  So far, it's fun, complicated, lacy and twisted, but at least the pattern appears error free and makes complete sense.  The yarn is a pleasure to work with and for sure, I'll buy more.

This pair I cast on solely on the 2 circular needles and plan to do them start to finish in this way.  The needles I used for Sock Wars were both dpns and circs.  This time, only circs.  Next time, 2 socks at a time on one circ, I just need longer cables for the circs.  If you think this hobby of mine is inexpensive, think again.  A pair of Addi Turbos will set you back a pretty penny-as will hoarding yarn.  Shhh.  Don't tell my husband.  Or my kids.

When my Mom passed away, all of us kids were shocked at the amount of lottery tickets we found in the house.  Hundreds and hundreds.  I don't want my children to be annoyed with me when I'm gone, or think I had yarn "issues."  Well actually, it may be too late for that.  At least this is better than losing lotto tickets.  It could all be sold on ebay and would probably fetch a fair price.  I don't buy the cheap stuff.  Evah.

I was hunting on You Tube for an appropriate death knell for Pixie and watched a lot of clips from the Wizard of Oz.  If you think I'm wandering here, I'm not.  Besides, read my header; it plainly states I ramble on this site.  Don't say ya weren't warned.  Anyways, I watched the clip where the Wicked Witch gets it in the face with the bucket of water.  I love that scene.  And I love her last coherent words too.  So here's to your demise Pixie.  Now send those socks!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Opportunity Knocks

Since about January of this year, I've been contemplating a change in jobs. In the current economic environment that would seem crazy to most people; the rules however don't apply to nurses. We're a special group of people because we have a critical nursing shortage and can get a job just about anywhere doing all types of work. For me, I've been pondering this problem for months. What do I do now that I've lost the heart for working in an ICU?

It's routine to work anywhere in nursing and find yourself truly in over your head in terms of managing patient load. In a critical care environment, there is an emotional component as well. We are often in ethical conflict with the decisions families make for patients at the end of their lives. They want everything possible done to delay what we often know is the inevitable: death. Sometimes, we form amazing bonds with families who prior to this were complete strangers. People sometimes touch us deeply as though they are members of our own families. This can lead to often emotionally exhausting and seemingly never ending days. It's more common now for me to dread going in to work than to embrace it. This is so sad for me for I'd enjoyed this job for awhile and now, I don't.  

I've often said that if people didn't abuse their bodies and if we all did what we were told, we (the medical profession) would be out of jobs.  We are all guilty of abusing our bodies.  Still, I am bone weary of caring for people in alcohol withdrawal or drug overdose.  Patients in withdrawal will suck the very life force out of a nurse.  Just trying to keep these people safe can be physically, emotionally and intellectually taxing.   Imagine yourself at work and having someone say F**K  U B!tc# or suck my (you know) for 12 hours straight.  I will tell you from the bottom of my little nursing heart that it is an appalling way to make a living.  It doesn't make a difference to me that when once again sane, these patients often apologize.  I care not as the damage is done.

The other aspect of my work that has impacted me greatly is caring for people at what should be a peaceful ending to their lives.  They should be allowed to go with dignity but without proper prior planning, they end up in ICU with us trying to "save" them.  I don't think people that aren't in this business truly know what it means to be very critically ill. It can be awful. Endless tests requiring often invasive and painful procedures like central lines, arterial lines, dialysis lines, procedural CT Scans, chest tubes, surgeries (and sometimes more than once), blood tests and the dreadful hourly finger prick for a blood sugar (you can't tell me these don't hurt, I know they do.) If you didn't want this but chose not to direct your care, someone else will make decisions for you. You may need advanced life support and you will have a tube stuck down your airway (requiring pretty frequent suction), a tracheostomy tube when the one in your mouth has been in too long, a gastric tube in your stomach to feed you, a bladder catheter to drain and measure urine output, a rectal tube if necessary, someone cleaning your mouth every 2 hours, someone turning you every 2 hours or the endless rotating bed that must seem like a carnival ride to really sick patients.

People experience a loss of dignity, possibly their humanity and often their minds at times like this. If you're lucky enough to recover, you may have debilitating and long term sequelae to your critical illness. Issues with fancy names like Toxic Metabolic Encephalopathy (see, you did lose your mind) and you can read about one woman's journey through her personal hell here. Who in the world knew you could suffer PTSD-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from being so sick? There are other physical issues that follow critical illness including (another fancy name) critical care polyneuropathy. This is caused by combining high dose steroids with neuromuscular blockade (medically induced paralysis) and may leave you with long term or permanent muscular and nerve damage.

I'm not writing this to scare people (dammit, get that advanced directive or health care power of attorney!) but to give you more or less a peek into my world. I simply find myself at a crossroad where I can't torture someone's 96 year old granny one more time. You can also be at death's door at a tender age too and although incredibly unfair, this, is life. I've experienced (one too many times) the nursing of the chronically critically ill who but for our intervention would be gone and perhaps, I don't mean this unkindly, should be allowed to die with dignity. I've seen families split themselves apart because they can't make decisions or they haven't made amends with loved ones and therefore, can't say goodbye. The time to make amends is right now. Be right with the people you care about because we all know it could end in the blink of an eye.

And so, I find myself looking. I promised my friend Sister Jeanne that I would wait until spring to see if I felt the same as I did at the start of the year about my line of work. I do. I think I could be a decent palliative care or hospice nurse. I want to work with people who are in need of comfort and not rescue. If all goes well this week, perhaps I will.

War-What Is It Good For?

Label/Receipt Number: EB**********U S
Status: Delivered

Your item was delivered at 10:44 AM on May 17, 2008 in LA CROSSE, WI. The item was signed for by J ***.

Here lies the proof that my socks have reached my target. I don't know the name of the person who signed for the package; it doesn't match the surname of my dead target. She (my target) has not acknowledged her death. Big surprise. She didn't acknowledge she was living either.

War is hell......

Friday, May 16, 2008

Diary of a Mad Sock Knitter

I'm modeling the Detonator socks for you as I'm not sure if Pixiedust has a way of sharing them with the world and they are too fabulous not to share!

Truth be told, I've not been knitting socks for very long. I started a little over a year ago and taught myself with online videos from Knitting Help and several books. Most of the books made absolutely no sense until I read the Yarn Harlot's book, Knitting Rules! Her description of how to make socks suddenly clicked and I've not put down itty bitty sock yarn and toothpick sized needles since. I've knit about a dozen pair in a little over a year. One week is the fastest I've ever knocked a pair out with the exception of a pair made in a thicker yarn. Those were super fast. I'm learning new tricks all the time and challenging myself. This particular pair was made mostly on 2 circular needles. I like it. It's fast-faster than double points and nary a ladder to be seen which is an issue when using 4 or 5 needles. This will probably become my favored method.

These are the socks drying. Yes, I washed them after modeling.

Sock knitting is mysterious, fun and portable. I take a sock in progress just about everywhere and time flies. I feel empty handed and fidgety when I find myself waiting somewhere with time on my hands and nothing to knit in them. As my Granny used to say, "idle hands are the devil's workshop." I'd have been a better kid if she'd taught me to knit.

Proof that socks are portable.

People are enchanted watching other people knit; it's hypnotic and peaceful. There wasn't a single person in my ACLS class who wasn't charmed by my tale of a battle to the death using socks as a weapon. Many pictures were taken during class but I chose to show you the lethal arrhythmia on the monitor during the Megacode. This is one that's ok for the dummy but that nurses don't want to ever see in real life!

My first pair of socks I knit were in an extraordinary ugly yarn in which I managed NOT to get gauge (surprise.) They are huge and hideous but at the same time very special. Kind of like your firstborn is special. I wear them on my feet at night when it's cold out. They're gargantuan and would fit Andre the Giant. These lovely and soft Lorna's Laces are the perfect size for Pixie. The colors are beautiful and despite the fact that I abhor the pattern, it does make this special yarn stand out. I hope my target appreciates the beauty of these socks.

Meet Myra. She was a sport at the post office and posed with my outgoing package. See, even an assassin needs friends in places where they can do you some good. Thanks Myra.

I apologize for the blurriness of this photo. I must have been excited to see them go and maybe a bit reluctant. The time came and off they went today. They'll be at their destination by noon Saturday. Incidentally, I'm still alive. Damn.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sam Adams, Take Me Away

This is my first night to relax since Sock Wars started. The pressure is off now and if I die tomorrow, at least I got to take someone out with me. I'd hate to die in vain. I'm still concerned that this woman I'm offing doesn't show herself publicly on any of the forums we warriors visit. She's like a ghost or as I read on the Sock Wars forum, a zombie. Yep. But her feet will look great dead in those socks I knit her! I've only to kitchener the last of the stitches and I'll have that done in a brief bit. Unlike many I know, I like a good kitchener stitch toe. It doesn't frighten me and as long as I am not imbibing, I can usually keep it together.

No refs to scream at tonight on the television while I knit-God is that distracting. I lost track more times than I can count just getting caught up in the drama of that game. Give it up Dallas! Pixie has to and now, so do you all. Or as you say down there, "y'all." Tomas did not have his skate in the crease and it's hardly his fault if his fine ass derriere was perceived to be over the line. First, I think there's quite a bit of padding there to protect the crown jewels so perhaps it sticks out more. We discussed this (ok, I discussed this) on my last Sock Hockey post. Secondly, I think this manly piece of hockey wonder probably has a very muscular gluteus most maximus. Bodacious most likely. Not saying. Just guessing. It isn't his fault if his bum crossed the line. Y'all whine like his whole being was in there with the goalie. Wonder what my hunka man Don Cherry thought about this. That's him up there in the sidebar lookin all spiffy and ever so slightly like he forgot to take his mood stabilizers.

I'm done with ACLS too. I ran a megacode and saved the patient with cardiac tamponade. I also got to practice drilling an IO site (in lieu of an IV, we can administer fluids and drugs into bone marrow) into a fake tibia. God, I love my job. I could never do it to a human (ok, I probably could) but it was fun to play with the drill. I got to stick an imaginary needle into the dummy's chest and aspirate all that blood. If he'd been wearing a seat belt, this probably wouln't have happened to him! I hate getting the PEA megacodes. They suck. You've got electricity but, to paraphrase my Canadian colleagues, Dude, you got no pump. Not a good match in terms of making it. Thus the acronym PEA-pulseless electrical activity. You dead. Just like Pixie.

I dropped the CrackBook off and had a lovely chat with the genius about the damage on the top of my Mac. Just fix it. MacLess me until tomorrow. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. Or maybe Monday. Just how many do they have to fix? Alas, I am using the desktop (windows) which is making me somewhat Dellerious. So, you get no pictures today. I'm off to visit with my husband a bit and drink a couple of those ice cold Summer Ales.

Watch Out for The Killers

I gained quite a bit of ground and should finish Pixiedust's Socks. This one's for you Ruth. I'm going to kill her and then I'll take her socks and finish you off too. It's only fitting that it end like this for you. I'm off to bed now to sleep fast for ACLS tomorrow.

Never quite studied for ACLS with my laptop, the AHA ACLS disk playing and me knitting socks. I don't know how I managed to keep the pattern straight (or my version of the cryptic pattern), but I did.

Have a great day. This song (by The Killers) is for Ms. MIA Pixiedust. Bang-bang.

Update:  It is 5:00PM EDT and I am ALIVE!  I am 10 rows from doing a kitchener stitch on these puppies then off to ship first thing in the morning.  Take care there Pixiedust for your demise is close.  Very close.  And even though I know how, I'll not resuscitate you!  I had fun entertaining my ACLS classmates with my mad knitting.  They insisted there be pictures.  There are.  I'll post them later.  I bet I'm the first knitter in Sock Wars with socks pictured in an ACLS Megacode!  There is a first for everything.  Right now, I'm off to eat yummy Italian food.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

All Quiet on the Western Front

Pixiedust, you can live now until Friday or Saturday or maybe even Monday. There isn't any possible way to finish this SSS (second stupid sock) unless I get incredibly motivated. I thought yesterday would be that day but I had my youngest home sick with the same virus that dropped me to my knees last month. I only got to the first round of gusset decreases when my hands just wouldn't make another stitch.

I have developed some injuries and I'm almost certain I won't get a purple heart for them. I pray almost wish the mail would bring the socks that kill me today (I will reimburse my assassin if she overnights the socks that kill me.) Ibuprofen doesn't begin to touch my hand, wrist forearm and elbow pain. These are repetitive motion injuries and there is no help for them except rest. Dilaudid might help. Yes, I'm almost certain it would. Lots of it.

I have a class tomorrow that I have to take. It's a work requirement to be ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) certified. I recert tomorrow. I haven't studied or taken the pretest. I haven't even popped the DVD in. Today, I MUST do some of that. I have no earthly idea how I'll intubate the dummy with my hands feeling the way they do. If I wear wrist braces, do you think the ACLS instructors will give me a pass on the physical mechanics of ACLS? At least it isn't my first ACLS class. That one gave me hives. It's just a recert Rudee; calm down. Do you think I can mix xanax with the dilaudid?

I have to shower and at least shave my legs today, it's getting gamey around here. Let's not talk about the vacuum, laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, chasing the Damn Dog, etc. It's rather obvious to all who enter that I'm a bit obsessed with this sock thing and there has been "talk" amongst the dwellers; it seems they think I've lost it. I think I need a maid. At least that way, they wouldn't talk. All would have a clean house (which they don't care about) and fresh groceries falling off the shelves (which they do care about.)

I have to take my CrackBook in for it's casing change. I'm trying to figure how best I can live without it. Perhaps, I'll drop it Friday since I work the weekend. The Genius couldn't tell me how long I'd be without my newest appendage. It's amazing how charming I find the cracks and tape job now that I can't have it with me for a day or two. The flaws make my Mac unique which would come in handy if it got stolen and I had to identify it later. Maybe I can live with flaws.

So you see Pixiedust, you have time. My life and my job have totally gotten in the way of you meeting your maker. Go ahead, take a breather. Kill your victim and get the socks she is working on. All is well......

Update:  It is 11:30 AM and the mailman just dropped off bills and the weekly community newspaper.  I could just weep... Please send me a man in brown!

To Update my update:  It's now 6:30 PM and no man in brown.  No Fed-Ex and no DHL for that matter either.  Can't hardly take it!

To Update my update's update:  It's now 7PM and here is what my assassin sent me as a response to my email begging her to kill me:  "You are too funny.  I think I'll let you guess where I'm at LOL."  Just for that, I think perhaps a row a day is in order!